The Rangers are three deep with quality young catchers which could lead to one of them being traded during the season for pitching help. 23-year old switch hitting Jarrod Saltalamacchia has not lived up to his vast potential to this date. He played in 61 games for the Rangers last season and he was 50 for 198 (.253 avg, .716 OPS) with 27 runs scored, 3 homers and 26 RBIs. He also whiffed a stunning 74 times for the Rangers last year and that’s not a good thing. He didn’t defend well either. He only caught 7 of 47 (15%) basestealers last season and Rangers’ pitchers had a 5.14 ERA with him behind the plate.
25-year old righty swinging Taylor Teagarden burst onto the scene late in 2008 for the Rangers. He played in 16 games for them in which he was 15 for 47 (.319 avg, 1.205 OPS) with 10 runs scored, 6 homers and 17 RBIs. One has to wonder if that was a mirage or not based on looking at his minor league numbers of last season. He played in 73 games in AA+AAA ball last year and he was 52 for 246 (.211 avg, .693 OPS) with 32 runs scored, 9 homers and 22 RBIs. He also whiffed 82 times in the minors last season which is pretty alarming. Rangers’ pitchers had a 4.92 ERA throwing to him last season which isn’t too bad considering who he was catching. He also threw out 2 of 9 (22%) basestealers last season for the Rangers. It will be interesting to see how Teagarden performs this spring.
24-year old righty swinging Max Ramirez has had a big bat in the minors to date. He played in 81 games in Rookie+AA+AAA ball last year in which he was 99 for 285 (.347 avg, 1.067 OPS) with 58 runs scored, 19 homers and 57 RBIs. Ramirez also played in 17 games for the Rangers last season and he was 10 for 46 (.217 avg, .715 OPS) with 8 runs scored, 2 homers and 9 RBIs. He did throw out 3 of 15 (20%) basestealers for the Rangers last season but the pitchers had a stunning 7.90 ERA with him behind the plate.
36-year old switch hitting Adam Melhuse was brought back in case a couple of the kids aren’t ready for prime time. He played in 15 games for the Rangers and Rockies last season in which he was 5 for 30 (.167 avg, .419 OPS) with 3 runs scored and 2 RBIs. He did throw out 4 of 6 (66.7%) basestealers last season and pitchers had a 4.78 ERA with him behind the plate.
PROJECTED GRADE FOR THE 2009 SEASON: C